This is going to be a controversial post, but I’m not going to apologise for having the opinions I do.
My favourite author, Sir Terry Pratchett, has alzheimer’s. I’m going to see him at the Opera House in April, where he’ll be talking about Alzheimer’s and Euthanasia, amongst other things. And it’s gotten me thinking.
I support euthanasia. I think if someone (sound of mind) has decided that they don’t want to live anymore, then they should be allowed to die. We have hospitals to bring people into the world, we should have similar to allow people to leave.
I understand this is a moral debate, so first I’m going to explain why I think this from a subjective point of view, and then from an objective view.
To me (and a lot of highly intelligent people), losing your mind is synonymous with losing who you are. You’re no longer you, just somebody who looks like you but isn’t.
And to me, that sounds a lot like being a zombie.
If the zombie apocalypse came around, and you were unfortunate enough to be bitten, would you rather turn into a mindless beast that inhabits your body, but isn’t you, or be shot whilst still human and be remembered that way? (Assuming, of course, that there’s no hope of a cure in your time).
Back to alzheimers, if you were losing your mind, your sense of who you are, would you rather lead a slow decline until you become nothing more than an addled shell, or go out on a high.
How would you rather be remembered?
Either way will be painful; those close to you will see you go either way, it’s a choice between short and sweet (and heartbreaking), or a long tough road, wrought with pain and no hope of success.
But even ignoring my beliefs, it makes rational sense to legalise euthanasia.
If people want something badly enough then they’ll achieve it. If people wish to die, then if there’s no service provided they’ll kill themselves anyway. This is a horrible situation, and legalising euthanasia removes a lot of the mess around it.
Euthanasia strips the need for the police to get involved, the stress caused by doing something illegal, the painfulness of the shock and surprise amongst the people close to them.
Restrictions could be put in place to ensure soundness of mind, or having a life-threatening condition, or waiting a year after signing up. All of those would be better than the outright ban we have currently (at least here in Australia).